100 years of change in college admissions applications

August 15, 2014

A student library assistant at Elon University in North Carolina recently unearthed an admissions application to the institution that dates back to 1922. After the student posted the application on Reddit, Elon’s special-collections librarian and archivist Katie Nash shared an even older application form from 1913. The 100-year-old, 2-page form is a far cry from today’s application packages, asking students to outline their knowledge of Cicero, Xenophon, and Homer, as well as their background in French Literature. The 1922 application is just one page, and moves away from antiquity toward students’ health and religious background. The 1922 form also asks students what sports they play and what daily and county newspapers they read. Nash also provided more recent application forms, which by the 1970s began to resemble more closely today’s version. The applications provide insight into the history of the institution and its aspirations, as well as trends in more general attitudes toward education in the US. The Chronicle of Higher Education